100 Engaging Virtual Ice Breakers for Your Team
Is virtual communication new for you and your team?
Whether you are currently running a remote team due to the pandemic or your team has been virtual for years, virtual ice breakers can help just about any Zoom call or meeting.
Over the past 10 years, I have led remote teams for small and large companies across three continents. Getting team members better acquainted and building a strong company culture has been key to our success.
Does your virtual team have strong communication and rapport? Do they feel connected? Below, we outline our list of the 100 most engaging virtual ice breaker questions.
Jump to Section
- The Rise of Remote Work
- What Is a Virtual Ice Breaker?
- Why Remote Teams Should Use Ice Breakers
- How to Encourage Virtual Team Bonding
- Funny Virtual Ice Breaker Questions
- Virtual Meeting Ice Breakers
- Short Virtual Ice Breakers
- Virtual Ice Breaker Games
The Rise of Remote Work
While we all know that it's important to build a strong culture within a team, this can sometimes be more difficult in staff with remote employees. However, this is why virtual team building and ice breakers are so important. Even post-pandemic, remote teams and virtual communication will become more common than ever.
Studies show that employees who feel more connected to one another have better communication and group task performance. Bottom line: Strong teams have a great deal of comfort and trust with one another and that is exactly why their productivity is high.
Incorporate more laughter and philosophical thought into your virtual meetings to boost productivity, creativity and collaboration. One of the easiest and most effective ways to do this? A few brief ice breakers.
Ice breakers are simple activities or conversations that help ease any anxieties or awkwardness when a group comes together for a meeting, discussion, casual chat or many other occasions. A virtual ice breaker is perfect for when these meetings happen through video conference, conference call or any other virtual events where folks may feel slightly uncomfortable in this type of social setting.
There is something unifying when working alongside coworkers and seeing them about the office. Colleagues who work together in-person also have the benefit of participating in team building activities that help everyone bond face-to-face.
Remote teams could fall into a habit of only focusing on work tasks without allowing the opportunity of forming bonds with one another and efficient work patterns that naturally develop when a level of personal understanding is reached. Virtual team ice breakers can break down communication barriers, encourage creativity and collaboration while also decreasing feelings of isolation.
Karen Sobel Lojeski, the founder and CEO of Virtual Distance International (VDI) explains that, “When virtual teams underperform, companies often think that geographic issues are the main problem and gravitate toward strategies to fix that problem. Our data show that the root cause is virtual distance. It changes the way that people relate to each other.” This is precisely why incorporating new ways of sharing with one another and connecting can ultimately boost productivity and motivation.
A study published with the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows that work friends and groups that know each other on a more personal level have a significant positive effect on group task performance. Virtual team ice breakers can make introducing new recruits to the group far less uncomfortable. They improve communication, build team rapport, reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, encourage people to get to know one another more, incorporate fun opportunities for interaction into meetings and help people feel positive and relaxed.
As CEO Walter Chen notes, virtual teams "can’t play ping pong together, so you build a more tight-knit culture through deeper, shared values.”
There are endless opportunities and conversations that can be had through virtual meetings, so use these 100 virtual ice breaker questions and games as a jumping off point for your next call!
- What is your funniest memory with your best friend?
- What is the craziest dare you have ever taken?
- What were your teenage anthems?
- If you could be eating any food in the world right now, what would it be?
- If you were a store at the mall, which would you be?
- What is your worst date story?
- Which of your past Halloween costumes is your favorite?
- Do you have any guilty pleasure shows that you watch?
- Tell the team a knock-knock joke.
- What is the strangest item near you?
- What commercial jingles or theme songs get stuck in your head?
- If you could choose your own nickname, what would it be and why?
- If you had a ridiculous amount of money, what unnecessary thing or experience would you indulge in?
- If you could eliminate one food from the world, what would it be?
- Share a good or bad impression!
- If you could only listen to one song for the rest of your life, what would the song be and why?
- If you were sponsored by a brand, which one would you want it to be?
- What topic do you know a lot of random trivia about?
- If your life became an action movie, which fictional character would you want to be?
- What is a common thing that you have never done? Fly, change a tire, etc.
- If you could live in any sitcom universe, which would it be?
- What is the scariest thing you have done for fun?
- If you had to wear a shirt with one word on it for an entire year, which word would you choose?
- If you were in the wrestling ring, who would be your opponent?
- How did your parents embarrass you as a kid?
- What is the most unique thing on your bucket list?
- You have two minutes to give a speech on anything! What would your topic be?
- What is your favorite website or blog to visit in your free time?
- Pick up something nearby and tell a story about its significance or how you got it.
- If you could live the life of any historical figure, who would you choose?
- If you were an article of clothing, which would you be?
- If you could learn any one skill right now, what would it be?
- What is your favorite movie and how many times have you seen it?
- What mundane superpower do you have? Can you curate the perfect playlist for any occasion? Do you always select the perfect produce while shopping?
- What was your favorite thing about your last job?
- What is something that you feel proud of this week?
- What do you feel is something that everyone is missing out on because they simply do not know about it?
- When someone finds out what you do for a living or where you are from, what questions do they always ask?
- What is your go-to self-improvement activity that you think would help others?
- Who is the most interesting person you have met and had a conversation with?
- What does your favorite breakfast look like?
- What is your morning routine like?
- How do you take your coffee, tea, juice, etc.?
- How would you make your week the most productive it can be?
- How do you like to relax and de-stress?
- Who in your life inspires you the most?
- What is something you want to focus on this week?
- Give a toast to someone for doing a good job whether it be for something mundane, work related, exciting or personal!
- How do you like to brainstorm? What methods are most effective?
- What motivates you?
- What weird thing do you feel nostalgic for?
- If you were a vegetable, which one would you be and why?
- What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?
- If you were featured on the news, what would the reason most likely be?
- What is your favorite international food?
- What is your favorite physical activity?
- What animal are you amazed by?
- What smell do you hate that others seem to like?
- What would you want to do if you retired?
- What is a trait that you have picked up from your parents?
- What food do you love that others typically do not?
- What are some of your favorite games to play?
- Share a funny meme with the group via Zoom or Slack.
- What is something that takes a lot of time, but is definitely worth it?
- What do you wish someone taught you a long time ago?
- How was your experience taking your driver’s test?
- What popular song drives you crazy?
- What do you find yourself recommending to people you first meet?
- Tell the group about something funny you witnessed this week?
- Do you have any exciting plans coming up?
- What book had the most significance on you?
- What is your favorite obscure belonging?
- What is in your junk drawer?
- Describe your setup for the perfect nap.
- What is your favorite food combination?
- Hold a note! Everyone takes turns holding a note with one breath. When they run out of air, the next person continues the note! How long can the team hold their note?
- Have everyone think of two truths and one lie about themselves so that others can guess which is the fib.
- Write down a six-word memoir that sums up your life in a short six-word sentence!
- Planning a virtual coffee shop meeting will lead to casual chatting while everyone prepares their morning beverages.
- Play Simon Says.
- Show-and-Tell is not only for kids! Share something from your home with the group.
- Play a few rounds of trivia.
- Drawing games like Pictionary can be played anywhere and there are also plenty of websites that cater to virtual games.
- Fill in the lyrics of a song when someone hits pause on the song to test your memory.
- Play charades.
- Virtual bingo.
- Send out a prompt of photo options and then have everyone take their own photo representations of the prompts to share with the group.
- Play a few rounds of Never Have I Ever.
- Read a phrase about any topic and then have everyone write down one word that comes to mind on the topic and discuss what the group came up with.
- Set up a virtual scavenger hunt for all to play in their own spaces.
- Take turns drawing other members of the group blindfolded with a time limit!
- Tell a story using one word at a time through the group.
- Everyone share a few of their favorite jokes.
- Take an online quiz and talk about the results.
- Plan a virtual book club.
- Have everyone come up with a movie pitch and have one person declare a winner for the best pitch.
- Share a selection of riddles for everyone to solve.
- Plan a debate on mundane things like pizza versus tacos!
- Try to find 10 things that everyone in the group has in common.
- Take a personality quiz and have everyone compare their results.
Now that you have 100 virtual ice breaker questions at the ready, that means 100 more opportunities for your team to bond and become closer than ever before. Virtual work can be slightly isolating, especially without human interaction in the smallest forms like meeting at the coffee machine or having small talk in the elevator.
Help your remote group become a dynamic team by starting with these questions and they will surely inspire many more in the future.
What is a virtual ice breaker?
Virtual ice breakers are simple activities or conversations that help ease any anxieties or awkwardness when a group comes together for a meeting, discussion, or casual chat in a virtual environment (such as a video call).
What is a virtual team?
A virtual team is simply a group of individuals who do not have a physical meeting place and instead meet, chat, rehearse, brainstorm and work remotely from their homes or chosen work spaces. Instead of meeting one another in a conference room, phone calls, video chats and instant messaging are the key ways to communicate and collaborate.
How do you build trust in a virtual team?
Virtual or not, a team’s trust relies on the quality of communication! Virtual ice breaker questions are an excellent way of breaking down strict or formal business barriers to boost team bonding for good rapport and productivity.
How do you build team morale remotely?
The best way of boosting team morale in a remote setting is by getting to know your team better! Ice breaker questions and games are an easy way to dive in with prompts to get the energy and conversation flowing, so that in the future those connections have already been made. Go above and beyond and plan a virtual happy hour, trivia or extra free time to chat outside of work. There are plenty of online games for remote teams, too!
How do you build a strong culture with a remote team?
Work culture is not solely decided by how many bean bags chairs or free snacks exist in the common area of an office, which means you can absolutely create a strong culture in a remote setting. How does the team work together? How do they speak to one another? How do they solve problems and pitch innovation? Trust is a huge factor and as long as the team can grow together and communicate openly, the culture is there.
This list of engaging virtual ice breakers will have your team bonding and building a successful rapport. For even more ideas to connect you and your virtual team, check out our popular article about virtual team building activities.